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24 PCB007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2020 Stevenson: The association roadmaps are an- ecdotal for us. It's like, "This is the stuff that is possible," which is more pie in the sky than anything. This will be for the companies whose technology lives on the leading edge, but prob- ably not the mainstream companies that typi- cally are our type of customers. We're looking at more established companies that are proto- typing for new designs, hobbyists, students, etc. They use more mainstream technology, and it's getting a little bit closer to some of the leading-edge stuff, but their bread and butter is within the main constructs of current tech- nology. And we don't have large business relation- ships with those leading-edge manufacturers that are doing some of that crazy new stuff. A few PCB manufacturers are known for be- ing on that leading edge and make a living off that. But we focus more on what is main- stream technology today, what is becoming mainstream tomorrow, and how we can best utilize that to get customers to great quality products and fast. Johnson: What's your manufacturing sweet spot? Stevenson: At this point, we are pretty much in- dustry agnostic. We have products that are at- tractive to every aspect of nearly all industries, but it's usually companies that have an estab- lished technology set that they like to use and design with. They'll innovate a little bit on this type of chip or passive, but it's not the company with the philosophy that says, "We're going to go to ultra-HDI this month and need you to conform to that." We are very well-posi- tioned in that area. We're known as a solid manu- facturer for those types of technologies. We have been moving capabilities toward the HDI realm for several years. Strategical- ly, we are not targeting the entire blind/buried via type of HDI products, but the smaller via, smaller holes, higher aspect ratio, and small- er finer lines and traces. Every purchase that we make for equipment gets us one step closer to being able to really offer these products as we did 10 years ago with the six-mil trace and space and the 13.5-mil drill very fast with very high yields. We offer five-mil trace and space with our limited review PCBExpress products. Four and four is becoming to us what five and five was two years ago. Ten-mil and eight-mil holes are becoming commonplace. Almost ev- ery design has those on there now, and we're appropriately able to do that within our sweet spot. The challenges for us become when we're stretching aspect ratios now. Eight- and 10-mil drills, most of the time, not a big deal. Start putting that into a 0.125" panel or a 0.093" panel, and you're getting those double-digit aspect ratios. The challenges then shift to the chemical processes and away from the mechanical processes. It takes an entire man- ufacturing team working in harmony to have success when building these in 48 hours or less. Johnson: Sunstone tends to work in a niche providing an affordable solution for prototypes and small lot sizes, which is a great value. On the technology adoption curve, from bleed- ing edge to early adopters, late adopters, and laggards, I hear you saying that the industry An LDI machine.

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